My Favorite Pop Culture Werewolf Media

Written in response to this question:

Apologies if this was asked before but what are some good representations of werewolves in media, and what would you recommend and why?

It hasn’t ever really been asked before, no!

1. Red Riding Hood (2011)

Guys, hear me out. I love this movie. I LOVE this movie. Okay? I just love it.

Just LOOK at this handsome hardcore badass, holy crap, and you should see what its entire body looks like and the way it moves and leaps onto things and its giant paws and oh God I love this werewolf, I love this movie, ogmogmidofjk

Good representation of werewolves?

Yes. Hell yes. The werewolf is big, it is scary, it is SO awesome-looking, and it is SMART. It’s intelligent. It’s not an idiot.

It also KICKS ASS. It’s a REAL THREAT and no one, NO ONE, makes a joke about it.

This is… Just yes. This is a good representation of werewolves. It’s great. It’s fantastic.

NICE TRY, LOSERS, YOU CAN’T ROPE A WEREWOLF. I love this werewolf so freaking much oh man it’s the best

What else is cool?

Two words:

THE. ENDING.

THE ENDING IS THE BEST THING EVER. I’m talking the very end. I’m talking the last three or four shots. If you’ve seen it, you know what I’m talking about. THAT is how I like my werewolf stories to end.

Oh, and basically everything else is cool, too. I love the medieval setting. I love the numerous references to other folklore tales and various medieval traditions. It’s just an outstanding movie and such an overlooked, underrated, wonderful little film.

Problems/shortcomings?

Well, it’s a romance and focuses more on the younger characters than the adults, but even as someone who tends to not enjoy that kind of thing, it didn’t bother me at all or make me less invested in the movie. I thought it was really good regardless.

However…

Inconsistencies with folklore? Some, of course. Anything that bothered me? Yes. The inability to walk on holy ground/association with devilry. I didn’t like that at all. I hate it when pop culture things do that to werewolves. And they do the silver thing (again, not that that always bothers me).

BUT THAT DIDN’T RUIN THE MOVIE. I still love it. I still love the setting, I enjoyed their lore otherwise (the werewolf hunters and their creed was great), and… yes. I really like this movie, in case you couldn’t tell.

2. Elder Scrolls (namely Bloodmoon, also Skyrim, but NOT Elder Scrolls Online)

By far my favorite werewolves in pop culture (if we’re talking like a setting with werewolves in it) are the ones in Elder Scrolls. When I say this, don’t default to Skyrim. I’m talking Elder Scrolls as a whole, as a setting. The ones in Skyrim are cool and all, they really are, but my favorites are the ones we meet and play as in Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind – Bloodmoon. They are AMAZING. The ones in Elder Scrolls Online are honestly overall a big step down from the lore in the other games in many ways (that’s a rant for another time), but I love the gameplay with them and basically all my ESO characters are werewolves and I’m so glad they included them as playable and and and-

Okay, to clarify, Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind – Bloodmoon has my favorite werewolves. Skyrim werewolves are also pretty great.

BUT I do not like ESO’s werewolves at all, and they only make them worse every time they update the game; the ESO werewolves do not at all follow the werewolf lore set by the rest of the Elder Scrolls games and I choose to ignore it. I had to stop playing ESO because their treatment/handling of the werewolves drove me off the deep end.

Moving on:

Good representation of werewolves?

Yes. Most of the time, anyway. Generally (not always, but generally), Elder Scrolls – especially in Bloodmoon, and often in Skyrim – werewolves are scary, rare, and powerful. They’re not something you mess with. They also tend to look cool (again – especially in Bloodmoon, and yes, I will be saying that a lot).

OHO GOD I LOVE THIS GAME, I LOVE THIS GAME’S PLAYABLE WEREWOLVES

The werewolves in Bloodmoon are essentially perfect. They are what werewolves are meant to be, including and especially everything the player signs up for when they play as one (turning at night, having to eat someone, being SUPER ULTRA CRAZY POWERFUL, looking awesome, sounding awesome)…

The werewolves in bloodmoon make ACTUAL WOLF NOISES, TOO. Try turning into one and interacting with an object (if you aren’t me and didn’t download mods so that the werewolves can actually use the hands they have).Wolf sounds, not barking! AAH! I LOVE THEM!

What else is cool?

Tons of stuff. Mostly that you can play as one in all the games except Oblivion without needing mods (though you might need an expansion pack, and the mods will certainly improve them if you get the right ones). Plus, the ES setting is a fun and good fantasy setting as a whole. I’ve always liked it.

Problems/shortcomings?

There are of course many departures from folklore, but unlike what many people assume about me, I don’t think departures from folklore instantly condemn the werewolves. ES werewolves are sensitive to silver, for instance, but I actually think that’s a fun storytelling device as long as it fits into the lore/setting.

The biggest problems with the ES werewolves vary wildly depending on what particular Elder Scrolls thing we’re talking about. In Elder Scrolls Online, for instance, they’re much more cannon fodder-y in certain zones (and ALL of the “Wolfhunter” content, bluh), they sillied up some of the lore on werewolves and werewolf hunters in general, etc. (werewolves not turning back after death so werewolf hunters put their skulls everywhere and mount their heads to walls and lolz, etc.).

And the horrible stupid voice lines you get from people like guards in Skyrim if you are a werewolf. Please, no.

But overall, not many problems or shortcomings. The best part? You can play as one and do your own thing. The Elder Scrolls games are the only games that have done this frequently in games, done it well (ESPECIALLY IN BLOODMOON), and… Yeah. They’re just really, really good.

3. MTV Teen Wolf (season 1, not the other seasons!)

Season 1. SEASON ONE. Not the other seasons. I watched the entire show all the way through and I’m honestly kind of sad it’s over, but in terms of actual werewolf representation, I absolutely cannot extend my recommendation beyond season 1.

Good representation of werewolves?

Relatively, yes. In the first season, anyway. They’re rare, they’re scary, they’re powerful, and they display some very cool powers (especially the Alpha). Due to budget costs and probably wanting to keep them hot and relatable, the werewolves are basically humans with sharp teeth, claws, glowing eyes, and some vaguely wolfish facial features, but honestly I really like them anyway. The alpha, of course, is much bigger and scarier, though (even if his design wasn’t really my favorite, but it was alright!).

What else is cool?

Fun and good story, fun characters… I dunno, I just enjoyed it. I went into it really expecting to hate it, to be honest, but I enjoyed the first season quite thoroughly. Like, I was excited for every new episode and got very into it, and that was the last thing I expected from a piece of werewolf media.

Problems/shortcomings?

You have to enjoy, or at least not mind, teen stuff. Teen situations, teen drama, teen romance, high school things, sports, etc. That is, obviously, a big part of the show. But I think it’s worth it for the werewolves in the first season. It’s a good story and the werewolves are well done.

Inconsistencies with folklore? Yeah, several, like the wolfsbane thing. But basically all popular culture will have some. Most importantly: was it anything that actually bothered me? No, not in the first season.

In the other seasons? Yeah. I personally wouldn’t call the other Teen Wolf seasons good representations of werewolves, and they only get worse as the show goes on. Just watch the first season.

And of course…

If werewolf folklore and old tales count, I would have a much longer list and Bisclavret would be very high and possibly on top.Along with lots of others.

The tragic part is… uh… I can’t really feel like any other ones I know of should be on this list, at least in my opinion, if we’re talking werewolf pop culture. My general dislike of the overwhelming majority of werewolf media is a well-known and oft-lamented fact among the people I know. I’m sorry it has to be that way.

But hey, I do still enjoy them sometimes! And I still play as them in video games even when they suck game-wise or I detest their lore or I am massively annoyed with some elements their appearance, just because I love werewolves so much (and I do appreciate them being playable at all).

I will say, though, if something has werewolves, I go and read about their werewolf lore first and see what the werewolves look like and how they’re treated. If I don’t like it, I can’t touch the thing. That’s just the way I am.

Did I mention I love the playable werewolves in Bloodmoon? They’re the best werewolves. Did I also mention how much I love the Red Riding Hood movie? How neat it is? How AWESOME the werewolf is? I think I did. I think I covered it pretty well.

(seriously, though–)